This world. This place. This life.

LTLT #2: Down the Ages We Have Trod

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If I have ever been present during a UU service where this hymn was sung, it clearly didn’t make an impression.  I looked online to see if anyone had recorded the tune and shared it with the web, but my search came up empty.  UUs are singing it, but not sharing it.

The hymn title is an occasion to talk about the problem of naming hymns by their first lines.  The word “trod” at the end of the title falls off like a heavy, well, clod of dirt.  It sounds tired, like we’ve been walking, and walking, and walking.  If the hymn had a catchy title, rather than “Down the Ages We Have Trod,” maybe it would be more memorable.  What if it’s title were, “This At Least We Must Believe”?

Between the Lines notes that the text for this hymn “provides an overview of complex theological ideas in clear, accessible language.”  I suspect that this is another difficulty for this hymn.  It’s a thinking hymn, rather than an inspirational hymn.

With no online version of the tune, I went to the keyboard to dust off my sight-reading skills.  The tune is pleasant, though not particularly intuitive, and in a few places the words and music stretch to meet each other. For UUs whose voices are rusty, there are probably some high notes that would be difficult to reach.

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